Missing boater identified as local pastor, professor Father Daniel Westberg

Posted at 3:12 PM, Oct 19, 2017

Law enforcement dive teams recovered the body of Father Daniel Westberg in Upper Nashotah Lake Thursday.

Police were investigating a missing boater on the lake Thursday morning. He had been missing since Wednesday afternoon. 

"Based on statements of a witness, it was apparently extremely difficult," said Chief Michael Hartert of the wind conditions on the lake. "They saw the person on the boat ducking down in the boat to avoid being hit by the mast, which was swinging around. It can happen and we've had it happen before. This is a different situation because he was a very experienced sailor."

Westberg was a faculty member at Nashotah House since 2000, and also taught at the University of Virginia from 1990 to 1998. 

“The Rev. Dr. Daniel Westberg was a faithful priest of the Diocese of Milwaukee whose gifts as a teacher were a blessing to us all. Our hearts and prayers go out to his wife Lisa, their family and the community of Nashotah House at this sad time. We pray that Dan will go from strength to strength in God’s perfect Kingdom,” said The Rt. Rev. Steven A. Miller, Bishop of Milwaukee, in a news release.

First responders arrived at Upper Nashotah Lake shortly before 1:00 p.m. Wednesday after a neighbor called 911 to report someone on the lake yelling for help. They found a capsized sailboat but could not locate the owner at that time. 

A neighbor on the lake said Wednesday's conditions would have been dangerous for anyone on the water. 

"Very, very windy," said Steve Warner. "The wind was between 20 and 25 knots. It would have been not safe to be out in a sailboat, especially a small one."

Warner said the wind continued to make it difficult even after the boat had capsized. 

"Since the wind was blowing out of the southeast so hard, it was really bringing the water this way," Warner said. "The wind blowing like it was, I would say that boat capsized about 300 to 400 yards up. The way the wind was blowing, that boat moved down to where it was stuck down here which was about 150 yards out. They searched this side, over and over again. They looked under the pontoon boat and the boats and the piers." 

Police confirmed Warner's feelings on the rescue efforts. They say from where they first marked the capsized boat, it moved 50 to 75 feet because of the winds. This increased their search radius and made it more difficult to find Westberg. He was located 55 feet underwater without a life jacket.